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Posts Tagged ‘elearning’

eLearning Partnership announced with City of Galway VEC

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

City of Galway Vocational Education Committee, (CGVEC), has engaged with a global elearning provider Learn Skills in a strategic partnership to create and implement a strategy to develop and establish a lifelong learning culture in Galway City. Learn Skills will provide its significant technical and pedagogical assets, with the CGVEC leading the engagement of the local education community, encouraging the embracing of the lifelong learning programme offering through its own teaching network and via its various involvements through the wider community. Learn Skills is an innovative learning solutions provider, founded by an experienced group of on-line learning specialists, and driven by a mission to deliver the best technology-based solutions for learning. Learn Skills is headquartered in Ireland and is building on the experience and successes of the Irish e-learning industry to develop a commanding global presence.

It is a company founded on the belief that at the heart of any successful organization, you’ll find a unique combination of excellence, openness and innovation; and most importantly, people that are passionate about learning and delivering value to the end-user. At Learn Skills you will find dedicated and talented individuals that are steadfastly building a leading learning technology solutions provider.

Learn Skills was born out of the belief that in a Knowledge Society, organisational and individual effectiveness depends on the consistent application of learning and a committment to continuous personal development and lifelong learning. We believe our most valuable asset is our people and our goal is to help everyone learn better, faster and smarter through the use of technology enhanced learning tools and products.

The challenges presented by the Knowledge Society demand even greater collaboration between academia and industry. Consequently, Learn Skills is based at the National University of Ireland in Galway, at the heart of a technology innovation hub. There, the  company benefits from the research & development capacity of a leading international University and research institution.

MBO for Deansgrange e-Learning Co?

Monday, March 30th, 2009

ThirdForce, the E-Learning technology provider who has offices in Deansgrange, Dublin has confirmed that it has received an approach from its management team.

ThirdForce, the e-learning technology providers receives an offer from management team

The company, valued at 8cent per share, pointed out that it has not formally received an offer, but has appointed members of its management team and board, Carol Clark,  Alan Maguire, Eimear McGovern, Mike Newton and Edwin Robinson to manage the approach. They have also said they have retained Goodbody as advisors.

The company is listed on London AIM and Dublin IEX markets, and last year made losses of amlmost €3/4m. In recent years, and in recent years has acquired and/or merged with Electric Paper, AV Edge, Creative Learning Media and MindLeaders.

Source: irishdev.com

Strategy for tech-enhanced learning launched by Higher Education Funding Council for England

Friday, March 27th, 2009

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has published ‘Enhancing learning and teaching through the use of technology – a revised approach to HEFCE’s strategy for e-learning’.

This revised approach follows an independent review of the strategy and is designed to provide further support to higher education institutions as they develop their own e-learning strategies.

The new approach is intended to support institutions in considering where they may wish to prioritise their technology-related investment over the next few years, and to develop appropriate institutional learning and teaching strategies. Support and guidance is available from the Higher Education Academy and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). Findings from the review, which was carried out with the support of the Higher Education Academy and JISC, suggested the strategy has been useful in motivating institutional activity, but that some of the information has become outdated, given the current level of maturity in e-learning in the sector.

In order to assist institutions in achieving their strategic aims for enhancing learning and teaching through technology, the document suggests a framework focusing on: pedagogy, curriculum design and development; learning resources and environments; quality; and research and evaluation.

John Selby, HEFCE Director (Education and Participation), said:
‘Our emphasis is on recognising that technology has a fundamental part to play in higher education, and that it should now reflect commitment from senior management in institutions within an institutional context. Our revised approach to e-learning will contribute to the Government’s aim to position the UK at the front of technology-enhanced learning internationally, and continue to build a knowledge-based economy.’

David Sadler, Director of Networks at the Higher Education Academy, said:
‘The Higher Education Academy is pleased to have been involved in this review and the revised policy statement, and its emphasis on enhancement is one that highlights how technology can be used by practitioners to support students in their learning. It focuses on the benefits and the outcomes from using technology to support learning, teaching and assessment, which will be different in each institution, and could make a real difference to the learning experience of students across all higher education institutions.’

Malcolm Read, Executive Secretary at JISC said:
‘JISC welcomed the opportunity to work with its partners to contribute to this review, and suggest how technology can enhance teaching and learning to assist in the delivery of higher education institutions’ strategic missions.

‘Part of this strategy is already beginning to take shape through the current investment being made in the open educational resources pilot. This work aims to open access to high-quality education resources on an international scale. It shows a new approach to virtual education, and will help to maintain the UK’s position as a global leader in online learning.’

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) distributes public money for teaching, research and related activities. In 2008-09 HEFCE will distribute over £9 billion to universities and colleges in England. The Higher Education Academy works with universities and colleges, discipline groups, individual staff and organisations to help them deliver the best possible learning experience for students.

JISC is a joint committee of the UK further and higher education funding bodies and is responsible for supporting the innovative use of information and communication technology to support learning, teaching, and research. It is best known for providing the JANET network, a range of support, content and advisory services, and a portfolio of high-quality resources.

Source: PublicTechnology.Net

Villiers High School hits e-learning goals with open source Moodle solution

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Meeting the Government’s latest eLearning targets, students and teachers at Villiers High School, Middlesex now have access to an engaging, interactive online learning environment that provides anytime, anywhere learning.

Choosing to tailor the free open source learning platform Moodle with the help of Moodle Partner Synergy Learning, the school is benefiting from technology tailored to the specific needs of its staff and students at the fraction of the cost of an off-the-shelf solution.

Government eLearning targets state that by 2010 all schools must have a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for pupils and use this technology to report in real-time to parents about key issues such as attendance and attainment. With a VLE, pupils can log on, search resources, receive and complete homework and talk to teachers and peers via internal email. Villiers High School is leading the way for the region by introducing a free of charge, open source online learning environment for schools. Open source software enables schools to use, change and improve the software with no restrictions.

The biggest advantages of open source software such as Moodle are its flexibility and cost savings. The software can be adapted to suit each school, from adding school colours and logo to selecting which functions they want for pupils. To gain maximum potential from their new tool, Villiers High School has enlisted the help of Synergy Learning, a Moodle Partner specialising in adapting the tool, technical support and training staff. The company provides 24/7 advice and support 365 days a year for less than the cost of an annual licence for similar off-the-shelf software. This support is particularly useful for schools that do not have a dedicated ICT coordinator and those that would like to free up teachers’ time that may otherwise be spent on overseeing the school’s technology.

Juliet Strang, Headteacher at Villiers High School commented: “Using Moodle and the support from Synergy Learning has been incredibly cost-effective, enabled us to meet government targets and create the highest quality educational tool for our pupils. We wanted technology that was unique to us, not a generic online environment that offered various functions we wouldn’t use and a style that wouldn’t appeal to our pupils. We now have a tool that meets our needs and the ongoing support we receive is invaluable.”

Source: PublicTechnology.Net

Learn Skills can also offer this support and advise for schools wishing to explore this option in line with these targets but also have a hosted LMS options targeting the needs of schools that would not be as familiar with the Moodle LMS.

CIPD Learning & Development Report 2008 for UK

Friday, October 10th, 2008

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is the professional body for those involved in the management and development of people.  The 2008 Learning and Development survey provides data on current and emerging trends and issues in learning and development. This year CIPD focused on some important issues facing the profession: employee skills; current and future learning and development practices; perceptions of e-learning; and the role of coaching. They also provide benchmark information on trends in workplace learning and training spend.

Below I will outline the summary of key findings.

Employee Skills

  • Two in five (39%) respondents feel their learning and development activity has been influenced by the Leitch Review of Skills: Prosperity for all in the global economy: world class skills (2006). Around two in five have also considered or would consider implementing initiatives such as Train to Gain (44%) and signing the Employer Skills Pledge (47%).
  • More organisations feel it is the Government’s responsibility (87%) to raise educational standards among young people before they enter the workforce rather than employers’ responsibility to raise literacy/numeracy standards within the workforce (57%). Sixty-two per cent feel the Government should prioritise funding on basic/lower-level skills.
  • Compared with two years ago, organisations are now requiring a broader range of skills (61%) and a higher level of skills (40%). The key skills that employers class as very important include interpersonal (79%) and communication skills (68%). However, 66% of organisations feel that new employees currently lack both communication/ interpersonal skills and management/leadership skills. Yet, these are also the same skills that organisations feel will be required to meet business objectives in the future.
  • One-third of employers have a graduate training scheme. The main areas included in these schemes include coaching and/or mentoring (85%) and project assignments (81%).

Learning and development – the future

  • The majority of organisations have experienced change over the last few years in delivering learning and development, with the most significant change concerning management development in the form of new programmes to develop the role of line managers (72%).
  • Indeed, the crucial role of line managers highlighted in previous surveys is reinforced this year, with the majority being involved in determining learning and development needs (86%) and half predicting line managers will have greater responsibility for learning and development over the next five years (49%).
  • On the whole, learning and development managers have accurately forecast changes in learning and development practices; e-learning, coaching/ mentoring and in-house development programmes were all previously highlighted as growth areas. In-house development programmes (61%) and coaching by line managers (53%) are both now used more than previously.
  • However, the expected use of e-learning has possibly been overanticipated, with less than half (47%) using more e-learning and a quarter (26%) saying they don’t use or no longer use e-learning. This is possibly because few feel it is the most effective learning and development practice (7%).

E-Learning

  • Nonetheless, over half (57%) of organisations use e-learning, while nearly half tend to agree that e-learning is the most important development in training in the past few decades. The vast majority (82%) of public sector organisations use e-learning compared with just 42% of private sector companies.
  • There is some indication that e-learning will be increasingly used as a training tool, with 29% saying that in the next three years between 25% and 50% of all training will be delivered via e-learning.
  • More than three-quarters (79%) of respondents feel e-learning is not a substitute for classroom-based learning, while the vast majority (92%) feel that e-learning demands a new attitude to learning on the part of learners.
  • Almost all (95%) feel that e-learning is more effective when combined with other forms of learning.

Coaching

  • Seventy-one per cent of organisations undertake coaching activities, with a similar proportion (72%) finding coaching to be an effective tool.
  • However, the purpose of coaching would appear to vary according to whom coaching is offered. Thus, within organisations that offer coaching to all of their employees, the purpose of this coaching is demonstrably used for general personal development (79%) and to remedy poor performance (74%), whereas within organisations that offer coaching only to managers, the emphasis for the purpose of coaching shifts towards its positioning as part of a wider management and leadership development programme.
  • The bulk of the responsibility for delivering coaching lies with line managers coaching those who report to them (36%) and to HR and/or learning, training and development specialists (30%).
  • The main methods used for evaluating the effectiveness of coaching include: through observation of changes (42%) and reviews of objectives conducted with line managers, coach and coachee (42%).

Economic influences on learning and development

  • More organisations report facing similar (44%) economic circumstances in the past 12 months than those reporting either worse (33%) or better (22%) circumstances.
  • However, the public sector continues to be gloomier than the private sector, with 53% reporting worse economic circumstances in the past 12 months, 45% reporting a cut in training funds and only 13% experiencing an increase in funding.
  • Larger organisations – that is, those with more than 5,000 employees – also have a gloomy outlook, with 44% reporting worse conditions and 39% saying they have received a decrease in funding.
  • Seventy-seven per cent of voluntary sector respondents report that funding for training has remained stable or increased, compared with 75% in the private sector and 54% in the public sector.

Training Spends & Budgets

  • Seventy-seven per cent of organisations have a training budget.
  • Voluntary sector organisations continue to spend more per employee per year on training, compared with the private sector and with the public sector.
  • Those employing less than 250 continue to spend far more per head on training than those with more than 5,000 employees.

The full report is available here and give us all the motivation we need to ensure that Learn Skills addresses a key need in the UK economy through the provision of web-based skills and compliance training for the workforce.

E-learning helps USA retailers dump classrooms for the anywhere, anytime Internet

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

By Elizabeth Gardner

USA – 1st March, 2008 – Walk into a City Furniture store in Florida on a slow morning and you’re likely to find a store associate at his computer. It may look like he’s web surfing, but he’s probably brushing up on his knowledge of couch construction or crib safety standards using the retailer’s e-learning system. For the past year, the 15-store chain has been moving its employee training away from classrooms and paper manuals and onto the Internet.

With stores all over south Florida, City Furniture’s 1,100 employees are far flung. “Imagine how challenging it is to get people to come an hour north, or two hours south, or an hour west, for a full-day training session,” says Janet Wincko, director of recruiting and learning. “Every moment they’re driving here and sitting in a class, they’re not selling.” And for employees in the 24/7 distribution center, scheduling classroom training to fit everyone’s odd hours is an additional challenge.

With e-learning, employees can complete little chunks of training; anything from five minutes for a quick briefing on a new product to a 20-minute module on store procedures, whenever they have a spare moment. Their reward is anything from lavish praise to bonuses or promotions. City Furniture’s reward is more training completed at less expense and potentially lower employee turnover and higher sales.

Internet-based e-learning is transforming how stores train their employees, whether it’s how to fold a sweater, how to deal with an angry customer or how to work the point-of-sale system. And sometimes that point-of-sale screen carries the lesson of the day.

“First-tier retailers: those with more than $2 billion in annual sales, all have embraced e-learning”, says Sunita Gupta, executive vice president at the LakeWest Group, a retail consulting firm. It recently completed a survey of 100 top retailers, and more than 70% said better training of store personnel was their top priority.

“Among second tier retailers: those with $500 million to $2 billion in sales, adoption of e-learning varies, and it’s most often used to introduce new technologies or programs”, Gupta adds.

Because e-learning systems are often available as a hosted solution and companies can pay per user, retailers of any size can potentially benefit, says Don Cook, senior vice president of marketing at Learn.com Inc., which includes about 30 retailers, including City Furniture, among its 500 e-learning clients. “We target the mid-market, between 10,000 and 30,000 employees is our sweet spot, but our biggest growth area is companies with less than 1,000,” he says. “Small companies should take training seriously. When you have three stores, it’s easier to develop a training system than if you wait until you have 50 or 100.”

Computer-based training has been around since all screens were black with green letters. The rise of the commercial Internet has made networked computers ubiquitous and inexpensive, giving retailers the ability to easily link trainees with centralized training. And the evolution of Internet technology has spawned a toolbox of presentation techniques as useful for developing training materials as they are for creating flashy web sites. Course developers can choose online video, Internet gaming techniques and other tools that appeal to the young people who form the backbone of many retailers’ sales forces. And those forces can take their training at any Internet-connected computer whenever it’s convenient, whether during a lull at the store or at home in their jammies.

“Retailers realize that e-learning offers a better toolset than traditional training,” Gupta says. “It’s interactive. They can add remedial sections if someone is taking longer than usual to understand something. They can be creative with learning protocols. And they can test as they go to gauge a person’s progress.”

Last year, Hudson’s Bay Co., one of Canada’s largest retailers with more than 580 locations and 50,000 to 70,000 employees depending on the season, realized a two-fold increase in the number of online training courses completed by employees, says Jason Hubbard, senior manager of e-learning and virtual classroom.

His in-house staff of five has produced dozens of e-learning courses over the past four years, not only on specific products and store procedures but also on personal growth topics like dealing with stress and improving language skills. Each course takes about three weeks to create and 15 to 20 minutes for a learner to complete. Hudson’s Bay employees completed more than 160,000 courses in 2007.

And often they revisit those courses for a refresher. “Any trainer will tell you that when someone gets training for a whole day, they’re overwhelmed and don’t remember everything they’ve learned,” Hubbard says. “With this system, you can go online to review specific things. If I do a spreadsheet once a month and I’ve forgotten how to do a PivotTable, I can use the Excel course as a reference tool.”

The courses run on a learning management system from GeoLearning Inc. GeoLearning hosts the system, which provides a platform not only for delivering the courses but for tracking participation and assessing the overall “skill health” of individual employees. The learning management system can serve as a general employee development tool for human resources departments, says Will Hipwell, GeoLearning’s senior vice president of product development.

E-learning can help geographically dispersed organizations develop a common corporate identity, says Angela Vazquez, director of instructional design at AMC Theatres, which operates 300 movie theaters throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company has been using e-learning for about four years. Its system provides courses for about 2,700 employees, including line managers at theaters. Vazquez plans to roll out courses this year for the 20,000 crew-level employees, the ones who pop the popcorn and clean between the seats.

“Having a centralized training function at the home office really helps us standardize and share our culture with remote locations,” Vazquez says. Each course uses the same branded template to give a consistent look and feel.

Face to face?

However, some subjects are still best taught in person, especially if they involve role-playing or lots of personal interaction, says Hudson’s Bay’s Hubbard. But even then, e-learning can streamline the process.

“A class that might have run a full day before can now run half a day because you can play around with the material a little bit online before the course and do follow-up online,” he says. City Furniture, Hudson’s Bay and AMC all use some classroom training in addition to e-learning for a blended approach.

Costs for e-learning vary widely, and the return on investment is sometimes difficult to identify, especially in the first few years when a company is incurring substantial expenses to set up a system and develop courses.

When City Furniture’s Janet Wincko was selling management on e-learning, she stayed away from squishy projections on increased sales or reduced turnover and stuck to the obvious. “Paying a dollar to an instructional designer is comparable to paying a dollar to an instructor,” she says. “But I have to pay the instructor every time he teaches a class, and I only have to pay the designer once.”

For Hudson’s Bay, direct return on its overall e-learning investment isn’t a primary concern, Hubbard says. Sales and management staff have to be trained one way or another, and his most important metric is successful course completions (defined as not only being exposed to the course, but passing the post-course test with an 80% score or better). Nonetheless, he can point to cases where introducing a course on a specific product: for example, digital cameras has resulted in increased sales. “Associates are much more likely to sell something when they’re knowledgeable about the product.”

In general, benefits from e-learning are significant, especially when viewed enterprisewide, some experts say.

“It’s hard to measure what you get back from having sales associates who can actually assist customers,” says LakeWest Group’s Gupta. “But many corporate initiatives fail because the execution doesn’t happen at the store level.”

Source: InternetRetailer.com

Elizabeth Gardner is a Riverside, Ill.-based freelance business writer.

Learn Skills aims to have a comprehensive range of essential skills and compliance training for the Retail Sector available soon, for both individuals and large groups of employees and learners.

Openness and learning in today’s world

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

In an open world as ours, interactive communication technologies generate an impact which has an influence on both individual learners and the organisations administrating learning processes.

This new issue of eLearning Papers aims to contribute to the debate highlighting several articles which address the openness and changing world of learning as well as the pervasive nature of some related public policies.

Richard Straub argues that the idea of “openness” is emerging as a dominant attribute of key developments in our current economic and social fabric. Open systems are like living organisms with significant elements of self-organisation. But now, says Richard Straub, we have the necessary infrastructure and tools to operate in new ways in open systems. These new ways have a clear impact on business, employees, learners and innovation, and they require changes in our individual behaviours and institutional adjustments.

In this changing process, Web 2.0 has a significant role. Antonio Bartolomé offers a clear frame around the concept of “Web 2.0: ideas, technologies and implications for learning.” The article argues that Web 2.0 resources seem to have little impact on the structure and conception of the old learning paradigms on which today’s curricula are built. So, where are the new paradigms? The author says it is too early to speak of a new paradigm, but there are some elements that do not fit easily in the old eLearning models.

What about the changes at eLearning institutions due to Web.2.0? Juan Freire analyses this in the article “Universities and Web.2.0: Institutional challenges.” He describes a list of bottlenecks which constrain the institutional adoption of Web 2.0 when universities and their managers assume an active role to adapt to the new reality. The article concludes pointing out a set of elements for a Web 2.0 adoption in universities.

“Openness” is also associated with values such as tolerance, individual freedom, lifelong learning, intercultural cooperation and innovation. In the interview with Anna Kirah we appreciate her vision of innovative thinking and education. The first question invites us to read the rest: How did an anthropologist end up in teaching person-centred and innovative thinking to business managers?

We experience every day what openness means and the benefits it may offer. The article submitted by Aina Chabert and Monica Turrini describes an intergenerational learning experience and shows us an example of enhancing democratic values in the open world. The digital literacy and eInclusion of older citizens can be promoted with a help of “digital facilitators” and experiential learning, providing the elderly learners with real life experiences when learning to use ICT.

Source: elearningpapers